By Tiffany Green

STAFF WRITER



Cullman will soon have the state’s second archery park. The park will open on April 29 and be located next to the Cullman Golf Course.

“The park will fit into the mainstream Park and Recreation programs,” Stuart Goldsby, of the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries said.

“We want to promote the life skill of archery,” Goldsby said.

Goldsby said the Archery Trade Association (ATA) has partnered with schools all around the country to promote the skill of archery. Many local schools have committed to the program that will include a two week archery lesson in physical education classes.

“The ATA will purchase equipment for the city and county schools who want to participate,” he said.

Goldsby is excited to have the Archery in Schools program in Cullman city and county schools.

“The life skill of archery can bring every child to the table,” he said. “It gives at-risk kids as well as any child something to be successful at and feel good about.”

The archery park features 36 targets, including an eight target beginners range from five to 20 yards, an eight target general target range of 15 to 50 yards, a four target bow hunting range of 10 to 40 yards with a 12 foot platform and a 16 target walking course with shots out to 70 yards all on 17 acres.

The simulated hunter platform is set up with safety harnesses that every person must wear. The park also has a wheelchair accessible area where people can shoot through a simulated hunting area.

“The sport is very safe. There are no injuries of record at archery parks. It just doesn’t happen,” Goldsby said. “It is a very safe activity.”

Alabama is one of the first states in the country to offer these archery parks.

The cost of the park is free to those who have a hunting license and for those who do not, they can pay a $10 annual fee to obtain a heritage license. The license can be purchased anywhere a hunting license is purchased like the probate office at the Cullman County Courthouse.

Goldsby said the sport of archery is not just for hunters, but can be fun for the entire family.

“It can be a family thing for everyone to enjoy,” he said. “It gets kids away from the computers and video games.”

Goldsby said archery can give youth a chance to feel a sense of accomplishment.

There is a local bow hunters group in Cullman, the Heritage Archery Club, a local chapter of the Bowhunters of Alabama. The group is the state’s third largest chapter.

In the future, Goldsby hopes to expand the park to include a picnic pavilion and a playground for smaller children.

The park will not be supervised. It will be open day light hours, every day. There are rules and regulations posted at the park.

The park is located off Exit 299. Turn right, go three miles and it is on the left on County Road 490, right next to the Cullman Golf Course.

The grand opening will be Wednesday, April 29, at 1 p.m. The park will have a Bowhunters of Alabama Club tournament on May 2 and 3 sponsored by the Heritage Archery Club.

The cost of the park is $285,000 and it is a joint effort by the City of Cullman, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and the Archery Trade Association.

The first archery park opened in Athens in 2008. The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries is building more of these archery parks, in Dothan and Demopolis and will soon break ground in Heflin.



‰ Tiffany Green can be reached by e-mail at tgreen@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 221.



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